FIVE Dorset businesses and attractions struck gold in the South West Tourism Awards, with 14 others from across the county also scooping silver and bronze accolades.

Weymouth’s Nothe Fort bagged gold in the small visitor attraction for the second year running, while Monkton Wyld Holiday Park near Charmouth won top prize for camping and caravanning park of the year and Highlands End Holiday Park in Eype got the top spot for holiday park of the year.

West Bay Discovery Centre also won gold in the ethical, responsible and sustainable tourism award, with Bournemouth’s Picnic Park Deli completing the Dorset gold winners.

Management of the Nothe Fort were delighted to strike top prize again and said the award is very much a reflection of Weymouth as a whole.

James Farquharson, chairman of the historic landmark, said: “We are all so proud that Nothe Fort has received gold in the south-west tourism award for the small visitor attraction category for the second year in a row.

Dorset Echo: Dorset Tourism Awards, Small Visitor Attraction gold winner, Nothe Fort, Weymouth

“It means so much to all of us and is an important recognition of the quality of Weymouth tourism.

“We would like to thank everyone for their support, especially the community, volunteers, partners and of course our visitors.”

Mary-Anne Edwards, co-general manager of the site, added her thanks to the town, Weymouth BID, the town council and the local community.

She added: “It shows the town is not just a bucket and spade attraction but full of restaurants, shops, attractions and bed and breakfasts all working together.”

The West Bay Discovery Centre was delighted with their award and was pleased to see other winners from the area including Highlands End Holiday Park.

Dorset Echo: 2.	West Bay winners – James Cox (Highlands End Holiday Park), Sarah West (WBDC) Liz Bryant (WBDC), John West (WBDC), Vanessa Cox (Highlands End Holiday Park).: West Bay Discovery Centre

Discovery Centre Trustee John West said: “We are absolutely delighted with this achievement.

“To achieve gold in competition with other top businesses and visitor attractions from the south west's six counties and Bristol and Bath is a great accolade for all the team at the centre.

“Care for the environment and promoting sustainability has and will always be central to what we do, so this award means a lot to us.

“We aim to have a low impact on the environment by buying sustainable and locally produced merchandise, recycling our waste, and promoting local beach cleans.”

Other winners included Golden Cap Holiday Park as runner up in holiday park of the year, the Dorset Museum coming second in the large visitor of the year category and Evershot's The Acorn Inn also ranking as silver for pub of the year.

James Cox of West Dorset Leisure Holidays, who operates both the Golden Gap and Highlands End sites, said: "As a family we are extremely proud that two of our parks have been recognised at this prestigious level as Gold and Silver in the South West Tourism Awards.

"It is a testament to our team’s hard work, enthusiasm and willingness to adapt, particularly over the last 24 months, to put West Dorset Leisure Holidays at the forefront of Holiday Park of the year for the South West.

"Over the last 50 years our vision has been to provide a fantastic experience and memorable holidays in West Dorset and this recognition has certainly hit a new high. We are looking forward to a successful 2022 season and hopefully news of progressing to the National Awards."

Dorset Echo:

The Monkton Wyld Holiday Park owners, Simon and Joanna Kewley said: "The park's teams, both individually and collectively, are committed in their determination to provide the level of service that our guests expect and deserve and are focused in providing a first-class destination in a relaxed and friendly environment.

"As much as anything, this award is a reflection of their work and dedication."

Dorset Echo: 'Search for Enlightenment' by Simon Gudgeon

The popular Sculpture by the Lakes came away with bronze for the tourism event/festival of the year for their FORM exhibition.